The Key Is to Care
“It is 6-7 times more costly to attract a new customer than it is to retain an existing one.” But retaining existing customers is not something you can learn overnight. And, Ken Blanchard says, you don’t need just an ordinary service to do it.
You need “Legendary Service.”
About Ken Blanchard, Kathy Cuff and Vicki Halsey
Kenneth Blanchard is an American writer and management expert. He received a Ph.D. in leadership from Cornell in 1967. He is currently the Chief Spiritual Officer of the Ken Blanchard Companies.
Kathy Cuff is a senior consulting partner with the Ken Blanchard Companies.
She has also co-authored with Blanchard one more book, “Leading at a Higher Level.”
Vicki Halsey is a vice president of applied learning at the Ken Blanchard Companies.
In addition, she has also co-authored – with Blanchard – “Situational Leadership,” and wrote “Brilliance by Design.”
“Legendary Service Summary”
The customer is always right… right?
Of course! But, that’s just the beginning of the story. If you want to hear the rest of it – please, be our guest!
First of all, you have to realize that customer service is both a science and an art. “Legendary Service” tries to transform the latter into the first – and make things easier for you.
At its core is, pretty obvious by now, building lasting relationships.
And there are two of them: internal and external.
The internal relationships are those you build with your employees. This is the largely ignored part of customer service. And it’s just as important! Because, after all, if your employees are satisfied, they’ll enjoy coming to work. And transfer some of that energy to your customers as well!
The external relationships are those you build with your customers. You can’t overestimate their importance in view of the success of your company.
Legendary Service is built upon five foundations. You may have already heard the acronym of the model: I CARE.
Let’s break it down.
“I” stands for Ideal Service.
The question this part of the model begs is “what you can do to meet your customers’ needs on a daily basis?” The answer is not that simple: you’ll get to it after spending some time analyzing your customers’ behavior. However, making them feel special is certainly a common denominator. So, light their fire!
“C” stands for Culture of Service.
It’s not just about devising the ideal service. It’s also about relating it to everyone in your company. And every culture is based on two things: vision and values. The clearer they are – the better the cohesion. Nations are created around stories; why should companies be any different?
“A” stands for Attentiveness.
Customers change. And so should your relationship with them. They are, after all, a fragile bunch: even if you had been great with them in 99 cases, be less than great the next time – and you’ll lose them. So attentively analyze them constantly. A great way to do this is by chunking them into smaller categories.
“R” stands for Responsiveness.
This is especially important in the case of an unsatisfied customer. It works just like in parenting: if you’re unresponsive, you’ll let your child slide away from your arms. Listen! Say “I understand” and nod the problems away. And whenever you can – do the customer one better than he or she asks for!
“E” stands for Empowerment.
This is what closes the cycle. Obviously, this step doesn’t mean empowering customers – but empowering employees. Because when you give your employees more power, they feel freer to satisfy the customers. And, before you notice, you’ve created yourself a team of leaders!
Key Lessons from “Legendary Service”
1. “I” stands for Ideal Service.
2. “C” stands for Culture of Service.
3. “A” stands for Attentiveness
4. “R” stands for Responsiveness
5. “E” stands for Empowerment
“I” stands for Ideal Service
Customer care is the very core of the Legendary Service model. As the acronym of its step-by-step manual suggests in itself: “I CARE.”
“I” stands for ideal service. And it’s based on the old idea that the customer is always right. So, adapt your behavior to fit his or her needs. And do that on a daily basis.
“C” stands for Culture of Service
Even ideal service means nothing – if it’s not communicated well enough. And that brings us to the second part of the I CARE model: the Culture of Service. It’s founded on two elements: vision and values. The former is general, the latter are specific.
But, both are unchangeable and religiously followed.
“A” stands for Attentiveness
Customers change and cultures evolve. So should your company – in case it is built for growth. And in order to steer it in the right direction: be attentive. Study the behavior of your customers and update yours.
“R” stands for Responsiveness
Responsive parents are the only good parents. Analogously, responsive customer service is the only path toward Legendary Service. It means showing a genuine enthusiasm to serve your customers and fulfill their needs. And this is especially important in the case of unsatisfied customers.
“E” stands for Empowerment
There are two aspects of customer service: external relationships (with your customers) and internal relationships (with your employees). The latter are routinely ignored. Do the exact opposite: build them first by empowering your employees.
Because if they can make a decision on their own, they will take full responsibility for it. And make the better one!
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“Legendary Service” QuotesIf you don’t take care of your customers, someone else will. Click To Tweet Customer loyalty is what you get when you create a motivating environment for your people. Click To Tweet Creating a Culture of Service begins with practicing a service mindset with their people so they will care for customers in a way that can significantly impact the organization’s bottom line. Click To Tweet Whether a CEO or a part-time employee… every person can make a difference – and customer service, both internal and external, is everyone’s job. Click To Tweet You’re only as successful as your customer service – and… Legendary Service creates loyal customers who come back for more. Click To Tweet
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